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The Gibralfaro Castle: A Beacon of History and Culture

In the hidden urban core of the bustling and energetic Málaga, we find a historical treasure that, without fading in the face of the relentless ravages of time, prevails: the Gibralfaro Castle. This imposing construction, gallantly erected on the prominence of Mount Gibralfaro, is a living witness to the long and opulent history that distinguishes this land. With an area of 21,310 m², including the Coracha and the Barbican, and a perimeter of 1,310 meters of wall, this castle is a living testimony to the rich history of the region.

But the Gibralfaro Castle is more than a historical monument. It is a symbol of the resilience and strength of Málaga, a testament to its ability to adapt and thrive despite challenges.

The Summit of History

At the top of the prominence of Mount Gibralfaro, whose altitude rises imposingly to 130 meters, stands an outcrop of the majestic Montes de Málaga, inscribed as an indisputable part of the grand Cordillera Penibética. From its sovereign peak, the Gibralfaro Castle majestically overlooks the exquisite city of Málaga and the vast horizon of the Mediterranean Sea, interconnected by a walled corridor with the imposing Alcazaba of Málaga, an undeniable witness of bygone and splendid times.

Gibralfaro has been a site of fortifications since the Phoenician founding of the city of Málaga around 770 BC. The place was fortified by Caliph Abd-al-Rahman III in 929 AD.

In the early 14th century, Yusuf I of the Kingdom of Granada expanded the fortifications within the enclosure of the Phoenician lighthouse and erected a double wall to the Alcazaba. Every stone, every tower, every corridor of this ancient castle tells a story, a tale of power and resilience, of ambition and faith. It is known that at his death it was not finished and that it was completed under the reign of his son Muhammad V. The fortress was adapted to the needs imposed by the advances in artillery and military tactics, which required the creation of a protection system or bastion for the Alcazaba. Gibralfaro was the last and main bastion or defensive stronghold, connected to the Alcazaba by a walled path, the Coracha, which was its only access point.

A Strategic Observation Point

From the mount where the castle is located, the entire city and bay are dominated. In its time, the fortifications offered an imposing image, especially since the mount was completely devoid of vegetation to facilitate defense and avoid ambushes. Access to the castle was through a monumental gate, from the Coracha, which communicated with the barbican that surrounds the entire outer perimeter.

The Beacon of Light

The name Gibralfaro is said to derive from the Arabic, Jbel, rock or mount, and the Greek term for light, Faro, meaning “Rock of Light.” The castle is famous for its three-month siege in 1487 by the Catholic monarchs, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, which ended when hunger forced the Arabs to surrender.

The Legacy of Gibralfaro

Today, the most visible remnants of the Castle are the solid walls that rise above the pines. In the Gibralfaro Interpretation Center, located in the old powder arsenal of the Castle, there is a small museum that displays the history of the castle over the centuries since the Reconquista. The castle was used as a military base until 1925.

The Future of Gibralfaro

Currently, a project is being approved aimed at safeguarding the mount and its surroundings from any urban intervention and promoting it as a space for public recreation. Another project plans to build a cable car connecting the city center with the Gibralfaro Castle.

How to get to the Gibralfaro Castle

If you have just arrived in Málaga, you can rent a car at the airport.

If you are in Málaga, the best way to get to the Gibralfaro Castle is by bus. You can take line 35, which has stops at the Plaza de Toros, Paseo de Reding, and other central points, and it will drop you off right at the entrance to the fortress. If you prefer to rent a car in Málaga, we can deliver it to the location of your choice.


The Gibralfaro Castle transcends its mere status as a historical monument, imbued with culture and heritage, whose brilliance endures in the glorious city of Málaga. Its rich historical narrative and majestic presence make it an unmissable stop for any visitor wishing to immerse themselves in the essence of this region. Entering its domain is embarking on a journey like no other!

Here is additional information about visiting the Gibralfaro Castle:

  • Address: The castle is located at Monte de Gibralfaro, s/n, 29016 Málaga
  • Phone: +34 951 92 61 89
  • Opening hours: The castle is open from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm from April to October, and from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm from November to March.
  • Entrance fee: General admission costs 3.50 euros, and there is also a combined ticket to visit the Alcazaba and the Gibralfaro Castle for 5.50 euros.
  • On Sundays, entry is free from 2:00 pm.